Robert I. Rotbergand Thomas G. Weiss
"ONE IMAGE punched through to me," said California Senator Diane Feinstein in explaining why she reversed her original vote in favor of lifting the weapons embargo in Bosnia. "That young woman hanging from a tree. That to me said it all." Senator Feinstein had seen the images on television. "For me, the turning point was the attack on Srebrenica, that weekend with all the missing people."1
How well the forces of the media transmit information about overseas crises greatly influences policy-making. Whether directly, by beaming facts and interpretations into the offices of the president of the United States and his principal aides, or indirectly, by affecting the thinking of members of Congress, opinion-makers, or the American public, the way that the media shape and package news from foreign parts is obviously critical. Most Americans learn about the world from television, and most policy-makers from the CNN version of television. The daily press is obviously important, too, for policy- and opinion-makers, but less and less so for the general public. Regional newspapers may report the headlines and the atrocities, but little more.
Whether or not the " CNN factor" is all-powerful (a subject on which the contributors to this book disagree), every chapter in this book and all of the discussions at the original meeting on the subject in late 1994 suggest how important well-informed and well-developed media attention is in the formulation of sensible policies regarding the resolution of